MANHATTAN, Kan. – Senior Keyontae Johnson’s lob dunk from fellow senior Markquis Nowell with 25 seconds left in overtime proved to be the game-winner, as No. 13/15 Kansas State outlasted No. 2/2 Kansas, 83-82, in the Dillons Sunflower Showdown on Tuesday night before a sold-out crowd of 11,000 at Bramlage Coliseum.
K-State (16-2, 5-1 Big 12) snapped a 7-game losing streak to its longtime rival in the 298th meeting and in the first top-15 matchup since 2013, while ending Kansas’ 10-game overall winning streak. The Wildcats are off to their best overall start since 2009-10, while they are 5-1 in Big 12 play for the first time since 2007-08.
The win was the eighth over the No. 2 team in the country, including the first since defeating No. 2 Baylor, 56-54, in Waco, Texas on Feb. 4, 2017, while it was the highest ranked win since knocking off No. 1 Oklahoma on Feb. 6, 2016. Overall, it was the 26th Top 5 win in school history.
Kansas (16-2, 5-1 Big 12) had one last chance with 11 seconds remaining, but junior Ish Massoud was able to force junior Dajuan Harris, Jr., into a turnover on the baseline with only a few seconds left to preserve the victory.
K-State is now 9-0 in games decided by single digits (9 points or less), including 4-0 in overtime games. It marks the first time the Wildcats have won 4 overtime games in a season since the 1992-93 team won a school-record 5.
Johnson was among three Wildcats in double figures, as he and reserve Desi Sills scored a team-leading 24 points, while junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin notched his first career double-double with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Nowell more than made up for his season-low 4 points with 7 assists and a game-best 4 steals.
The Jayhawks were led junior Jalen Wilson, whose game-high 38 points tied the Bramlage Coliseum opponent record matching the 38 by Georgia State’s Anton Reese on Nov. 28, 1998. He went 12-of-25 from the field, including 3-of-10 from 3-point range, and was near perfect 11-of-12 from the line. He was joined in double figures by sophomore KJ Adams, Jr., and freshman Gradey Dick, who finished with 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Both teams shot 50 percent or better from the field in the first half, including 51.7 percent (15-of-29) by K-State, before neither could buy a shot in the second half, as they combined to go 17-of-52. In the extra period, the Jayhawks hit on 50 percent (3-of-6) of their field goals and all 3 of their free throws, while the Wildcats made just 1-of-3 from the field but took advantage of their opportunities at the line, knocking down 9-of-10 attempts.
Overall, K-State connected on 41.7 percent (25-of-60) of its field goals, including 41.2 percent (7-of-17) from 3-point range, and made 78.8 percent (26-of-33) from the free throw line. Kansas shot 43.3 percent (26-of-60) from the field, including 20.7 percent (6-of-29) from long range, and made 70.6 percent (24-of-34) from the line.
It was the 16th overtime game in the series history and the first since 2014. The Jayhawks hold a slight 9-7 lead in those in overtime games with the Wildcats winning the last 2 (2014, 2023).
HOW IT HAPPENED
In a back and forth game, K-State used a 12-0 run to take a 16-6 lead with less than 14 minutes left in the first half. Senior Keyontae Johnson had two big 3-pointers in the run, while seniors Markquis Nowell and Desi Sills and junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin each added 2 points. The Wildcats continued to build their lead over the next few minutes, capping out at 33-19 after a pair of free throws from sophomore Cam Carter with 8:17 remaining.
Kansas slowly chipped away at the lead, scoring 17 of the next 22 points to close to within 38-36 with 2:04 to play before halftime. However, K-State was able to have a strong close to the half with 6 of the final 9 points, including a jumper by Johnson just before the halftime horn, to take a 44-39 lead.
The Wildcats scored 7 of the first 10 points out of halftime to extend their lead to 51-42 right before the first media timeout with just over 15 to play. But once again the Jayhawks made a run to take their first lead at 58-57 on a pair of free throws by junior Jalen Wilson with 8:40 to play.
With the game knotted at 61-all, Johnson scored 5 straight points to give K-State a 66-61 lead with just over 5 to play. However, Kansas answered with 6 of the next 7 points to tie the game at 67-all with 3:10 remaining. With the score tied at 72-all with 23 seconds left, Tomlin was able to turn over junior Dajuan Harris with 4 seconds left, giving Johnson one last chance to win in regulation, but his layup was just short at the buzzer.
In the extra period, the teams once again went back and forth. Wilson gave Kansas an 80-78 lead on a 3-pointer with 2:24 to play but Johnson was able to tie it up at 80-all on a pair of free throws on the next possession.
Trailing 82-81 with 30 seconds to play, head coach Jerome Tang called a timeout to draw up the final play, as Johnson received the pass from Nowell and slammed it home to give the Wildcats an 83-82 lead with 25 ticks left on the clock. The Jayhawks had one last chance, but junior Ish Massoud was able to force Harris to turn the ball over on the baseline to hang on to the win.
PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME
Senior Keyontae Johnson collected his fifth 20-point game of the season, tying for the team lead with 24 points on 7-of-17 field goals, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, and an 8-of-9 effort from the free throw line. He also grabbed 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block in 34 minutes.
Senior Desi Sills nearly topped his career-high, scoring a season-high 24 points on 7-of-11 field goals, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, and 8-of-9 free throws. It was his ninth career 20-point game, including his first at K-State.
STAT OF THE GAME
31 – K-State got 31 points from its bench, including a season-high 24 from senior Desi Sills.
IN THEIR WORDS
Head coach Jerome Tang
On the game…
“I’m so proud of our guys, and secondly, our fans were incredible, right? I mean, they say home court advantage gives you a plus 10, it might have been plus 20 tonight. It was incredible. One of the things I said leading up to this is that kind of energy that they brought tonight, I want them to bring that because they love us and not because of the opponent that we’re playing. On Saturday, we’ll play Texas Tech, if they love us, we’re gonna get that same energy, right, not because of the opponent that we’re playing against and that was my message and you know, all the credit to Kansas. I mean, Jalen Wilson was incredible. They’re an incredible basketball team, program, Coach Self. Tonight, we made one more play than they did and like I told the guys in the locker room, we only got one win tonight. Now we have to prepare, do what we have to do tonight, the next right thing so that we can prepare to win the next one.”
On Keyontae Johnson’s dunk…
“It is something that we run, yes. It’s what we were looking for. I didn’t necessarily think he was going to catch it and dunk it, but we wanted to isolate him on the side of the floor. We knew that they would be on top of him.”
On Markquis Nowell…
“I mean, seven assists, three turnovers. He didn’t press, he guarded. Multiple times he was guarding a 6”8, 6”7 guy in the post and just fighting for steals. ‘Quis is a winner man. He’s growing as a leader. Today he was a really good basketball player out there even though the stat sheets didn’t say.”
On Keyontae Johnson…
“A guy at Baylor named Bill Peterson, a terrific coach, he would tell me ‘Jerome, you know, a coach is a good coach when he gets his best players the most shots.’ As you can see, Jalen [Wilson] got 25 shots and Keyontae got 17. That’s just, I mean it’s not rocket science. We just got to put them in a space where they have a chance and they were both really good tonight.”
Senior Keyontae Johnson
On the matchup against Kansas physically…
“I feel like we did a good job physically. Jalen Wilson got to the line a lot, a great player, and I felt like that took us back a little bit just trying not to foul but still playing aggressive. Down the stretch I think we played aggressive, and then we ended up getting the game winning stop.”
On managing emotions with the environment…
“It’s a quick turnaround, we play Saturday. So, we’ve just got to know when to celebrate. Coach said we’ve got today to celebrate and tomorrow it’s off day to just come in, get treatment, stay focused, and go on to the next one until we play them again.”
On what he wants the national stage to know about the team…
“Just that we’re definitely one of the toughest teams out here. We all have fun together and we celebrate each other. We don’t hate whoever is the leading scorer or whoever’s day it is. If it’s your day we want, you to keep going. We bring out a lot of confidence in each other and that’s why I feel like we play well together.”
Senior Markquis Nowell
On Jerome Tang as a coach…
“There’s so much knowledge that he’s passed down outside of basketball. He teaches a lot of life lessons. He’s a really good man, teaches you about God and love. It’s not just about the little things like these wins, it’s about the bigger picture and knowing that we’re supposed to have success. He emphasizes that we’re supposed to win these types of games, we’re supposed to win national championships. Just being around him is a joy.”
On Desi Sills as a sixth man…
“He’s not even a sixth man, he’s a starter that just comes off the bench really. He brings so much energy and passion to the game that we need. He brings a spark that we need. He had 24 big points today and he showed up. That’s what he does in big time moments, he shows up. You can always count on him to have your back in any situation. We are really glad to have Desi.”
Senior Desi Sills
On what was working for him in the first half…
“I’m nothing without God, but my teammates found me early. They told me to believe in my work, trust in my work, and just go out there and be the player that they know I am.”
On the feeling of how important the game was to the fans…
“I feel like we have one of the best fans in the country. We feed off them, the energy and enthusiasm that they give us. It goes over onto the court. We really appreciate them coming out, I hope they come out every game like that. It was a big part of the win.”
BEYOND THE BOXSCORE
- K-State is now 16-2 on the season, equaling the best start since 2009-10.
- K-State is now 5-1 in Big 12 play for the first time since 2007-08.
- K-State is now 9-0 in games decided by single digits (9 points or less) and overtime (4-0).
- K-State is now 4-0 in overtime games, including 3-0 in overtime games in Big 12 play… The Wildcats are now 75-47 all-time in overtime play, including 33-14 at home.
- K-State is now 10-0 in home games, including 9-0 at Bramlage Coliseum… It is the best start to a season since going 10-0 to start the 2016-17 season.
- The win is the fourth vs. a Top 25 opponent, all coming in the last 6 games.
- K-State is now 8-19 all-time against the No. 2 team, while it snapped a 4-game skid… It was the first win defeating No. 2 Baylor, 56-54, in Waco on Feb. 4, 2017, and the first at home since defeating No. 2 Kansas, on Jan. 30, 2008… It was the highest-ranked win since defeating No. 1 Oklahoma on Feb. 6, 2016… It was the 26th Top-5 win in school history.
- Kansas still leads the all-time series, 203-95, including 81-49 in Manhattan… The win snapped a 7-game losing streak in the series and was the first since a 74-67 win at home on Feb. 5, 2019… The 16 overtime meetings with Kansas are the most against one opponent with the Jayhawks leading 9-7.
- K-State used a starting lineup of fifth-year senior Markquis Nowell, sophomore Cam Carter, fifth-year senior Keyontae Johnson, junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin and senior Abayomi Iyiola… It marked the seventh time in 18 games using this lineup.
- Nowell made his 40th start at K-State, while Carter, Johnson and Tomlin all made their 18th starts in Wildcat uniforms and Iyiola his seventh… It was Johnson’s 73rd start in college (other 55 at Florida), 71st for Iyiola (other 39 at Stetson and 25 at Hofstra), 22nd for Carter (other 4 at Mississippi State) and 18th for Tomlin (all at K-State).
- K-State scored its 83 points on 41.7 percent shooting (25-of-60), including 41.2 percent (7-of-17) from 3-point range, and connected on 78.8 percent (26-of-33) from free throw line.
- It was the eighth 80-point game of the season, which is the most since 11 in 2017-18.
- K-State knocked down 7 3-pointers, including 4 players hitting on at least one trey.
- K-State got 31 points from its bench, which was the third-largest total of the season.
- Both teams turned the ball over 15 times with Kansas holding a slight 20-17 edge in points off turnovers.
- K-State registered 12 steals, its second-largest total of the season.
- K-State led 44-39 at half behind 51.7 percent (15-of-29) shooting and 14 points from senior Desi Sills.
- K-State is now 10-0 when leading at the half.
- Senior Keyontae Johnson tied the team lead with 24 points on 7-of-17 field goals, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, and 8-of-9 free throws to go with 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block in 34 minutes… It was his 14th career 20-point game, including his 6th at K-State… He now has 56 career double-digit scoring games, including all 18 games in 2022-23.
- Senior Desi Sills matched Johnson with a season-high 24 points on 7-of-11 field goals, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, and 8-of-9 free throws to go with 4 rebounds and 3 steals in 34 minutes… It was his ninth career 20-point game, including his first at K-State… He has scored in double figures in 58 career games, including 8 this season… His 3 steals tied a season high.
- Junior Nae’Qwan Tomlin collected his first career double-double with 15 points on 5-of-11 field goals and 5-of-6 free throws and game-high and season-tying 10 rebounds in 40 minutes before fouling out… He now has 11 career double-digit scoring games.
- Senior Markquis Nowell was held to a season-low 4 points on 2-of-8 field goals, but did post a team-high 7 assists and a game-high 4 steals in 42 minutes… He now has at least 7 assists in 15 of 18 games.
K-State continues its homestand on Saturday afternoon, as the Wildcats play host to Texas Tech (10-8, 0-6 Big 12) at 1 p.m., CT at Bramlage Coliseum.